GUNS IN THE PEWS

GUNS IN THE PEWS

O KLAHOMANS NOW have further legal protections if they use deadly force while defending a house of worship from an attacker. House Bill 2632, authored by State Rep. Greg Babinec, R-Cushing, is law with Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature, and extends the "stand your ground" doctrine, which allows people to use firearms or other dangerous measures if they believe their lives are in danger, to churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. The law does not require any house of worship to allow firearms on its premises – that remains optional. But if a church comes under attack – as in the Charleston, South Carolina, or Sutherland Springs, Texas, shootings – Oklahoma parishioners may retaliate with little fear of prosecution. Locally, some churches don’t seem to worry about whether the congregation is armed. Churches don’t generally run parishioners through a metal detector, but some have prohibitions against firearms. "We allow concealed carry, but no open carry," said Pastor Buddy Hunt of First Baptist Church of Tahlequah. "We also have a volunteer team, and it now pays a police officer to attend Sunday morning services." Scott Wolff, deputy for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, is also a pastor for First Southern Baptist Church of Keys. He said the congregation is in no way inspected for firearms. "It is kind of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’" Wolff said. "There are no rules or policies." Conversely, there is the First Presbyterian Church, where Rev. Annette Haskins said "we do not allow firearms." The bill, which amends […]

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